Perhaps you read the recent Columbus Dispatch article on Michelle Melland. She’s the 50 year old wife and mother of twin teenage girls who battles ALS, the incurable, paralyzing and eventually fatal disease otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The disease has progressed in Michelle’s body to the point that her eyes, eyebrows and lips are the only parts of her body that she can move. The former U.S. Army captain and lifelong athlete whose high school high-jump record still stands can no longer move her head, her fingers or even a toe. She breathes only with the help of a ventilator.
But Michelle is not about to give in to self-pity. With a mind that is as sharp as ever and with the use of technology that allows her to type onto a keyboard by simply staring at letters one at a time, Michelle is able to write. And she has been writing a lot – having read 44 books in 44 weeks and then writing a review of each book (typed out over many hours) which she then posts to a blog (bookthoughtsfrombed.com) that she designed and created herself.
On her blog site she writes, “Thanks to technology, I’m able to access and control online e-readers and thanks to Amazon and local libraries, I have limitless numbers of books to choose from. I’m optimistically looking at this phase of life as “retirement” and aren’t I lucky that I get to spend my retirement reading in bed?”
What a great example of the power of the human spirit to overcome whatever life dishes out. Michelle is refusing to allow this disease to define her and is choosing instead to define her life on her terms as best she can.
If Michelle can read, write and post 44 book reviews in 44 weeks, you might ask yourself what are you doing to overcome any barriers that keep you from defining your life – of becoming the best version of you that you are capable of becoming.
Get a vision of who you are at your best and pursue that vision every day with passion, purpose and discipline. The famous Catholic Saint, Catharine of Siena wrote, “Be who you were made to be and you will set the world on fire!” We agree. Go for it!
Photo from The Wichita Eagle